Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Traditional Uses of Green Tea

After water, tea is the most popular beverage. Though green tea is a popular drink in China, Japan, India and other parts of the world, it is only recently gained popularity here in the United States. Until recently, black tea has been a more popular beverage and not necessarily for its health benefits as for the taste and the lift it can provide in the afternoon. In the south it is drunk with and between meals and for afternoon refreshment.

But green tea is gaining notoriety here in the United States more for it health benefits than for its taste. Its health benefits are not a secret to other parts of the world. And it is interesting to consider what Western medicine, through formal research, is attempting to validate what traditional healers in other parts of the world instinctively know and actually put into practice using green tea.

It's interesting to look backward and note what traditional healers consider useful purposes for green tea as compared to what medical science is attempting to prove today.

A note of caution: our look back historically to the usefulness of green tea is for entertainment purposes and not meant to serve as a medical reference or resource.

Botanical Medicines, The Desk Reference for Major Herbal Supplements offers the following for green tea: In the traditional medicine of India, green tea is recorded as a mild excitant, stimulant, diuretic, and astringent, and the leaf-infusion of tea was formerly used to remedy fungal infections caused by insects. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), green tea is recorded as a mild excitant, stimulant, and astringent, cardio-tonic, central nervous system stimulant, and diuretic. Other uses in Traditional Chinese Medicine include the treatment of flatulence, regulation of body temperature, promotion of digestion, and improvement of mental processes.

And from A Modern Herbal, written in the early 1900's, we have the following medicinal actions and uses: Stimulant, astringent. It exerts a decided influence over the nervous systems, generally evidenced by a feeling of comfort and exhilaration; it also causes unnatural wakefulness when taken in quantity.

Taken moderately by healthy individuals it is harmless, but in excessive quantities it will produce unpleasant nervous and dyspeptic symptoms, the green variety being decidedly the more injurious. Tea is rarely used as a medicine, but, the infusion is useful to relieve neuralgic headaches.

The Modern Herbal lists the following constituents for green tea: Caffeine (theine), tannin (10 to 20 percent gallotannic acid), boheic acid, volatile oil, aqueous extract, protein wax, resin, ash and theophylline.

Source: Botanical Medicines, The Desk Reference for Major Herbal Supplements, Second Edition, by Dennis J. McKenna, Ph.D., Kenneth Jones, and Kerry Hughes, M.S.c with Sheila Humphrey, IBCLC, The Haworth Herbal Press, An Imprint of The Haworth Press, Inc., New York, London, Oxford., copyright 2002, p. 598